THE PERPETUAL DEATH OF THE COMPOSER BY SIMON KING 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 16
With the fall of communism, Kralitz settled in Germany indefinitely. He set aside chamber pieces to concentrate on full-scale orchestral works. There was a silence of five years; everyone presumed, me included, that he had ceased composing but, no, he was devoting all his energy to the most substantial piece of his entire career.
Although I had always been his closest friend, he had ceased returning my phone calls, which I found alarming. I sent him a lengthy letter detailing my worries, to which he replied shortly and succinctly:
Dear Kryztof, I am not avoiding you out of discourtesy or impudence. My devotion to this new symphony has wrenched me, disabling me from partaking in the most basic activities, even maintaining contact with my most intimate friends has become strenuously difficult. Merely notating this magmatic monster is destroying my physical and mental health, yet I feel that this piece is so promising that... I feel urged to complete it. Regards, Alfred
A few months after I received this letter, Kralitz passed away.
THE DEVIL HAS CAUGHT YOU BY AFOLABI OPANUBI 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 16
He wasn’t sure of anything any more, not even the small figure gazing at him like a spirit. It had to be the girl who sold gin, he thought. Olamipo felt an intense curiosity to look. He was right. It was the girl and she was gazing at him with her blank, disinterested expression.
He followed her eyes as they strayed to the plastic chair where Etim sat, smoking.
When Olamipo’s parents complained about Biodun, his cousin studying Theatre in Canada instead of Engineering, Peju always implied that Biodun did drugs and smoked. These sides to Biodun, who always looked cool in the family album, were expected in anyone who became wayward. Olamipo had never heard Etim’s mother condemn cigarettes but he knew she abhorred them much the same way she hated drugs. Thugs and good-for-nothings were the ones who went to Akwa Ibom to smoke and drink. Olamipo could tell his parents or Etim’s mother about what Etim had made him do. His punishment would be light. His parents would probably ban him from going upstairs to play with Tommy and Nene for a while.
Yet, he was afraid of speaking. He knew that there was a balance in his surroundings: a harmony of people making compromises, laughing when offended by someone richer, turning a blind eye to their neighbour’s indiscretions, all just to get along. Olamipo was afraid of what his words could do to this balance.